My suggestion is to buy a good quality 35 mm camera brand that makes a
very sharp macro lens in the 50-105 mm range. While I prefer Nikon, Canon,
Minalta, and several other brands are fine. Several features that I cannot
live without are: the ability to set the camera manually, a motor driven
film advance, an architectural grid viewing screen and manual focusing.
The cameras that do this can be purchased new or used, but are the
workhorse cameras of professional photographers because of these features.
A stop down button that allows you to preview your shot at the actual
aperture of the lens is a handy feature.
Auto focus is a nearly useless feature for macro photography. At small
apertures on small objects you need to focus 1/3 of the way into the piece
to get the best image. A motor drive allows you to advance the film
without disturbing the setup, and concentrate on other aspects of the
photography. A grid screen is useful in lining up shots. Other than the
tiny film advance motors, and lighter faster (larger aperture) macro
lenses, any high end 35mm camera made in the last 20+ years will work
well. My personal choice is a Nikon N90 and both the 60 and 105
micro-nikkor lenses. I use the body set to manual mode and manual focus,
and a 1/250 shutter speed with a pair of strobe heads in soft boxes.
Charles’s Small Scale Photography is an excellent source of
and has helped refine the photography set up in our studio.
Richard D. Hamilton
A goldsmith on Martha’s Vineyard
Fabricated 14k, 18k, 22k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography,
and sailing whenever I can…